9-1-1: How Did Chimney Get His Name? Everything We Know

Fans of 9-1-1 have probably pondered, “How did Chimney get his name?” 9-1-1 is one of the better original series of Ryan Murphy’s TV shows thanks to the exciting and tense storylines and the ensemble cast of unique characters in this show about Los Angeles first responders. A fan-favorite character on 9-1-1 has long been Howard “Chimney” Han (Kenneth Choi), a paramedic with the LA Fire Department. Howie or “Chimney” as he’s often known, is a talented medical professional and loyal member of the crew.

Chimney first appeared in the pilot of 9-1-1 and has since been in all but one episode of the series, constantly spreading his trademark good humor and playful attitude even in the worst situations. He often does what he believes to be right, rather than what’s expected, which partially explains why he has never moved up the ladder in the department, but there are few first responders more suited for 9-1-1’s over-the-top emergencies. The only part of himself Chimney isn’t happy to share is the origins of his nickname.

The Mysterious Origin Of Chimney’s Name Is A Running Gag On 9-1-1

9-1-1 Never Shows How Chimney Got His Name

Chimney (Kenneth Choi) and Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) smile on 9-1-1 season 7 episode 10

It’s a bit of a running joke in 9-1-1 that Howard Han never explains the origins of his nickname “Chimney”. It’s the name people refer to him as in the pilot episode and rarely does anyone use “Howie” save for his wife Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and half-brother Albert (John Harlan Kim). Every once in a while in the series, someone calls attention to the nickname, only for the inquiry to be shot down by a protesting Howard or someone else saying it’s futile to even ask.

Every time someone asks why the name and Howard demures, or the scene immediately cuts, the joke gets funnier.

As a firefighter with the name Chimney, it would be expected that there would be a simple answer to the origin of Howard’s nickname. The fact that Howard seems almost afraid to share the real origin of his nickname turns the mystery into a funny gag. What could he have done to make an innocuous word like “Chimney” be a source of embarrassment? Every time someone asks about the name and Howard demures, or the scene immediately cuts before the audience can get the answer, the joke gets funnier.

Fan Theories On Chimney’s 9-1-1 Nickname

People On Reddit Have Speculated About Howard’s Nickname

Chimney (Kenneth Choi) sitting at a bar and looking at someone in 9-1-1.

There are plenty of fan theories about what the true origin of Howard’s nickname could be. On Reddit, plenty of users have speculated about what the origin of Howard’s nickname is. On one Reddit thread, u/CaptainChimneyHan wrote,

“I think it might be that he smoked like a chimney… but I suppose whatever they announce now if they do, it will probably be a disappointment all around!”

Another commenter, u/Federal_Street_8895 wrote,

“Yeah I always got the impression it was an NSFW story that’s why they all got awkward around Chris when he asked…”

In another thread, u/PhoenixMartinez-Ride wrote,

“Oh I’m curious too! Does anyone have any theories? I’m thinking maybe he got stuck in a chimney one time and now they tease him about it.”

These are certainly all possible theories as to why Howard earned his nickname, though from how adamant Chimney is about not sharing the story,it seems that the origin being an NSFW story is the most likely. 9-1-1 has been renewed for season 8, so there’s always the possibility that the story could be revealed in a later episode, perhaps in the finale, finally giving viewers the answer they’ve been looking for.

Chimney has a phobia of reptiles on 9-1-1 .

Murphy and the rest of the showrunners could also play a hilarious joke and pretend they’re about to reveal the answer, only to cut to black once again. This storyline in 9-1-1 might be like “The Noodle Incident” from Calvin and Hobbes, where the story in each viewer’s mind is much better than anything the writers could create at this point.

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